Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 3.djvu/330

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Chapter 14: Collapse of the Conspiracy

For several days after Wilkinson's arrival at New Orleans he left the conspirators in doubt of his intentions. No public alarm had yet been given; and while Colonel Gushing hurried the little army forward, Wilkinson, November 30, called on Erick Bollman, and had with him a confidential interview. Not until December 5 did he tell Bollman that he meant to oppose Burr's scheme; and even then Bollman felt some uncertainty. December 6 the General at length confided to the Governor his plan of defence, which was nothing less than that Claiborne should consent to abdicate his office and invest Wilkinson with absolute power by proclaiming martial law.

Considering that this extraordinary man knew himself to be an object of extreme and just suspicion on Claiborne's part, such a demand carried effrontery to the verge of insolence; and the tone in which it was made sounded rather like an order than like advice.

"The dangers," said he,[1] "which impend over this city and menace the laws and government of the United States from an unauthorized and formidable association must
  1. Gayarré's Louisiana, iii. 163.